Brachioplasty Gone Wrong: Reduce Your Risks With Expert Advice from Dr. Darren Smith

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A woman is flexing her arm to show off her brachioplasty results.

Arm Yourself With Knowledge Before Undergoing a Brachioplasty

An arm lift, medically known as a brachioplasty, can deliver transformative results by removing excess skin and reshaping the arms. However, as with any surgery, brachioplasty does carry risks. Complications can occasionally occur, leading to less-than-ideal outcomes.

At Dr. Darren Smith’s elite plastic surgery practice, we specialize in brachioplasty and understand how to sculpt beautiful, proportionate arms. We also want to provide complete transparency about potential brachioplasty problems, so you can make fully-informed decisions.

In this article, we’ll explore what can go wrong with brachioplasty and how to address any unsatisfactory results. We’ll also share advice on avoiding complications, so you can feel fully prepared on your aesthetic journey.

What Is Brachioplasty?

A woman measuring her arm with a tape measure to reduce risks before brachioplasty.

Also known as an arm lift, brachioplasty is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess fat and skin from the upper arms. It can address concerns like:

  • Flabby, loose skin that sags
  • Lack of tone and firmness
  • Stubborn pockets of fat
  • General lack of contour and definition

During a brachioplasty, an incision is made on the inside of the upper arm, from the armpit to the elbow. Through this incision, excess skin and fat are removed. The remaining skin is then smoothed and tightened.

What Causes Brachioplasty to Go Wrong?

While brachioplasty is considered a safe procedure, it still involves intricacies that can lead to subpar outcomes if not executed precisely. Some potential causes of a botched brachioplasty include:

Surgical Errors

Imprecise incision placement, uneven contours, and inadvertent nerve damage can result from surgical mishaps. Choosing an inexperienced surgeon heightens risks.

Post-Surgical Complications

Issues like infections, seromas, and poor wound healing after brachioplasty can lead to less attractive scars and arm shape.

Individual Risk Factors

Health conditions like obesity, diabetes, and smoking impede proper healing, increasing chances of complications.

Rushing Recovery

Not following post-op instructions for rest and activity restrictions can aggravate swelling and scarring.

What are the Consequences of a Problematic Brachioplasty?

A woman is flexing her arm in front of a window to show off the results of her Brachioplasty.

You likely wish to avoid the following undesirable outcomes that may occur with a botched brachioplasty:


All surgeries leave scars, but in some cases, brachioplasty scars may become raised, dark, or prominent over time. This occurs more frequently for those prone to keloids or hypertrophic scars.


Slight differences in the contours and appearance of each arm are common after surgery. But in some cases, significant asymmetry can occur, leaving a very noticeable imbalance.

Arm mobility issues

Nerves or tissues can potentially be damaged during surgery, leading to pain, numbness, tingling, and reduced mobility in the arms and hands. These conditions may be temporary or permanent.

Wound healing problems

Issues like infections, seromas (fluid buildup), and poor incision healing can all compromise surgical outcomes. Smokers have a higher risk of wound healing complications.

Loose, hanging skin

Skin laxity after brachioplasty can give an unsatisfactory appearance with residual sagging. This occurs more often when a disproportionate amount of fat versus skin is removed.

How Can Brachioplasty Complications Be Corrected?

While the thought of brachioplasty gone wrong is concerning, there are remedies available for remedying issues, including:

  • Revision Surgery – Secondary procedures can improve arm contours and scarring. Skilled surgeons like Dr. Smith specialize in revision brachioplasty.
  • Physical Therapy – Specialized exercises can help regain flexibility, strength, and range of motion after surgical nerve damage.
  • Counseling and Support Groups – Seeking emotional support can be vital for processing body image issues and restoring self-esteem.
  • Legal Consultation – In cases of malpractice, legal experts advise on negligence claims and compensation options.

Our team can walk you through all options if brachioplasty falls short of your goals. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

How Can Brachioplasty Problems Be Avoided?

The best way to avoid disappointing brachioplasty results is to take proactive steps before surgery:

  • Select an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon with expertise in brachioplasty. Carefully review their before and after photos, qualifications, reviews, and success rates. Avoid bargain hunting and sacrificing quality.
  • Have a candid discussion with your surgeon about what brachioplasty can and cannot achieve based on your individual anatomy. Bring photos so your surgeon understands the look you hope to attain. Listen to their expert assessment.
  • Give yourself ample time for recovery after surgery – usually several weeks. Arrange help at home since mobility is limited initially. Follow all pre and post-op instructions diligently.
  • Maintain realistic expectations. Understand that some minor asymmetry, changes in skin sensation, and scarring are common even when surgery goes smoothly. Perfection is not the goal.
  • Get medical clearance for surgery and optimize your health. Stop smoking, lose weight if needed, and control conditions like diabetes that impede healing.
  • Arm yourself with knowledge by researching brachioplasty exhaustively beforehand, so you know exactly what to expect.

Trust Dr. Darren Smith’s Artistic Eye for Arm Contouring

Four pictures of a woman's back before and after Brachioplasty surgery.

Dr. Darren Smith is renowned globally for his artistic eye, surgical precision, and passion for achieving natural, beautiful outcomes. He performs each brachioplasty as a bespoke, personalized procedure – not as a robotic repetition.

If you’re considering brachioplasty or hoping to improve a past arm lift, we encourage you to schedule an in-depth consultation with Dr. Smith. He will assess your individual needs and candidly discuss whether brachioplasty is right for you.

Contact us today to arrange your consultation. Our personalized, honest approach has helped thousands achieve their aesthetic goals.